This June marks 12 months since the fire event that caused us to evacuate Oakridge. Reflecting back on the stress of that day and the days that followed, I really just remember how we all came together. With the help of staff, residents, families, colleagues and neighbors, we saw a successful relocation of our residents. We then made an immediate transition from our daily work of providing care in a place we knew, to that of recovery, rebuilding and getting back to what we are called to do.
We have been working towards the goal of getting back in our facility every day since last June and we are nearing the end of that journey to begin another chapter in Oakridge’s 52-year history of serving seniors in the Fox Valley. We couldn’t be happier.
I appreciate everyone who has been there to help us along the way.
Michael T. Schanke
Early spring has prompted much progress. Across all of our locations, we have held successful COVID-19 vaccination campaigns with acceptance rates far above national and state averages, especially from our staff. We continue to partner with our pharmacy provider, Morton’s LTC Pharmacy, to ensure new residents and staff members have timely vaccination opportunities available to them. I want to thank Morton’s for their exceptional commitment to our shared community for the work they have done.
In mid-March, we welcomed our new Director of Nursing, Tayna Didier, RN, MHA. Tayna comes to us with an exceptional background in nursing leadership. Her commitment to the nursing staff and attentiveness to the people she cares for is already evident and motivational. You can learn more about Tayna in her employee spotlight later in this newsletter.
We have begun operational planning for our reopening in July. While we have stayed very active at Gardenview Assisted Living and The Gardens of Fountain Way Assisted Living, we have also been able to maintain a good number of our Oakridge staff as active employees. They have all been contributing to caring for residents other locations or keeping things moving behind the scenes at our temporary office location. I am grateful to all of them and look forward to bringing back former staff and welcoming new staff as we approach re-opening. That process has already begun.
It has been 10 months since the fire incident and many people ask, “Do you know what caused the fire?” The answer to that is, not yet. The process of determining cause and origin is very tedious and very scientific, as it should be to make such a determination with certainty. In fact, we may never know to absolute certainty, as is the nature of some fire events. Our insurer, Nationwide has an exceptional team of nationally respected experts in forensic fire investigations working on our behalf and if they can get to the bottom of it, they will.
In the meantime, with the help of our many dedicated staff members at all locations and Nationwide, we will continue our march to rebuild, re-open and once again meet the needs of our senior community.
Michael T. Schanke